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Berlin Wall picture prompts memories

Christopher Korp knows just where he was when the Berlin Wall fell. He was right there, chipping away with a hammer and chisel.


Fernando Alfonso III


Posted on Aug 17, 2011   Updated on Jun 3, 2021, 3:20 am CDT

On the list of excuses used to get out of work, wanting to see the Berlin Wall before its fall a pretty good one.

So in December 1989, Christopher Korp convinced the restaurant he worked at in San Francisco to let him take four days off so he could travel with his parents to Berlin. His mom, who worked for an airline, had some extra flight benefits and didn’t want her son to miss out on seeing a piece of history. Korp was 19 years old at the time.

At the Wall, Korp broke out a hammer and chisel made by his grandfather. Gary Korp, his father, snapped photos while his son hammered away, eventually collecting 30 pieces of concrete to take home. All was going smoothly until the West German police approached his father, Korp wrote in an email to the Daily Dot.

“The West German police were selecting random people amongst the throngs to give tickets to; after all, it was government property that we were destroying,” he wrote.  “When the police started to ticket him, a crowd gathered to defend him. I remember a French woman screaming at the officers about their unjust actions, but to no avail. They confiscated the hammer and chisel, and gave my father a ticket.”

Korp posted one of the photos his father took on Reddit Tuesday night. The post shot to the social news site’s front page where it collected more than 600 comments, some from people who were there when the Wall fell.

“That day and that place, I got the best blow job of my life,” wrote OldManWinters. “I can never forget that day.”

“Awesome place. I was stationed there with the AF (Air Force) for three years, ’77-’80. I brought home a piece of the Wall and a bit of barbed wire, and a son,” wrote angryshark. “An Army detachment stationed at Tempelhof Air Base flew helos every day to inspect the Wall and keep tabs on the upgrades/maintenance to the Wall that the Commies were doing.”

Some redditors, like IvyDroid and the_gypsy, shared photos of themselves at the Wall when they were children.

Almost everyone else in the post commented on Korp’s outfit in the photo—a long wool coat, black boots, black pants, black leather gloves and a white shirt.

The boots were bought at Daljeets and the coat from Aardvark’s, both stores are on Haight Street in San Francisco, and the frilly white shirt from Goodwill, Korp said.

It has been 21 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and Korp, now 40, still can’t believe he got to see it standing.

“It does seem surreal now, as it did then,” Korp wrote. “The jet lag, the extraordinary cold, the worldwide press attention—it was all like a bizarre and hazy dream.”

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*First Published: Aug 17, 2011, 12:29 pm CDT